Main point summary
Do not hold the faith of Christ with partiality. For in doing this you displace God's judgment with your own, and err wickedly in your own judgments.
Ἀδελφοί μου , μὴ ἐν προσωπολημψίαις
My brothers, 1 w show no partiality
ἔχετε τὴν πίστιν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῆς δόξης.
as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, x the Lord of glory.
ἐὰν γὰρ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς συναγωγὴν ὑμῶν
For if a man...comes into your assembly,
ἀνὴρ χρυσοδακτύλιος ἐν ἐσθῆτι λαμπρᾷ,
wearing a gold ring and fine clothing...
εἰσέλθῃ δὲ καὶ πτωχὸς
and a poor man...also comes in,
ἐν ῥυπαρᾷ ἐσθῆτι,
in shabby clothing...
ἐπιβλέψητε δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν φοροῦντα τὴν ἐσθῆτα τὴν λαμπρὰν
and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing
καὶ εἴπητε •
σὺ κάθου ὧδε καλῶς,
“You sit here in a good place,”
καὶ τῷ πτωχῷ εἴπητε •
y while you say to the poor man,
σὺ στῆθι ἢ κάθου ἐκεῖ ὑπὸ τὸ ὑποπόδιόν μου,
“You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”
καὶ οὐ διεκρίθητε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς
have you not then made distinctions among yourselves
καὶ ἐγένεσθε κριταὶ διαλογισμῶν πονηρῶν;
and become z judges with evil thoughts?
Ἀκούσατε , ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί •
Listen, my beloved brothers,
οὐχ ὁ θεὸς ἐξελέξατο τοὺς πτωχοὺς τῷ κόσμῳ
a has not God chosen those who are poor in the world
πλουσίους ἐν πίστει
to be b rich in faith
καὶ κληρονόμους τῆς βασιλείας
and heirs of c the kingdom,
ἧς ἐπηγγείλατο τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν;
d which he has promised to those who love him?
ὑμεῖς δὲ ἠτιμάσατε τὸν πτωχόν.
But you e have dishonored the poor man.
οὐχ οἱ πλούσιοι καταδυναστεύουσιν ὑμῶν
Are not the rich the ones who oppress you,
καὶ αὐτοὶ ἕλκουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς κριτήρια;
and the ones who f drag you g into court?
οὐκ αὐτοὶ βλασφημοῦσιν τὸ καλὸν ὄνομα
Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable h name
τὸ ἐπικληθὲν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς;
by which you were called?
Here is the main thrust behind the command against impartiality. In living partially we live against the judgments made in the kingdom of God. Not only that, but we make ourselves judge, no doubt an action at the heart of idolatry.
Here James begins to ground his argument. First , in verse 5, he states explicitly the judgment of the kingdom, showing how it is quite contrary to the judgment made in the example above (vv 2-3). God's wisdom has actually shown a kind of favoritism for the poor with respect to his divine will. Next , he reveals the judgment of man against the judgment of God: man dishonors the poor, while God honors the poor. Finally , in 6b-7b James lists two examples of this dishonor, highlighting the stupidity and imperfection of man's judgments. As will always be the case when man is impartial using any criteria, there will be those in every camp who are either wickedly neglected or wickedly supported.